There are many people who seem to view Massage Therapists more as spa workers, rather than health care practitioners, so they do not necessarily feel like they need to divulge important, albeit sensitive, information to the Licensed Massage Therapist working on them. No, we are not doctors, and no, we cannot prescribe medication or even advise you on whether you should take a Tylenol or not. However, we did not go to school to just learn muscles; we learned how to deal with many ailments, conditions, contraindications for massage, and more. Here are 5 things you need to be telling your Licensed Massage Therapist:
- Accidents / Injuries: Accidents can have life-long effects, especially the more serious the accident. We specify accidents because you would be surprised at how many people don’t say they’ve had an injury, but they were in a car accident 3 months previous. Accidents are usually more complicated than most injuries–whiplash is a nasty monster that can lay dormant for years and then be poked to rear its ugly head and really mess up your life. Accidents usually affect your whole body, or at least your whole spine, and each accident needs to be addressed, based on how you were positioned in the accident and how your body responded to the accident. Especially if you have something like repeated sprain injuries or you’ve dislocated your shoulder 10 times, we want to know about your injuries. When your body is injured, there’s an entire compensation chain reaction that takes place in your body. Knowing that helps us with our job, so please tell us!
- Surgeries: Whether is was last week or 10 years ago, if you have surgical scars, we will want to know why, what happened, how you’ve recovered, current status, and any complications of that surgery. We need to know how much scar tissue we will be working with and if there are certain techniques we need to utilize or avoid to aid in your healing. We also need to know what kind of surgery and where–don’t just say “Oh, I had a back surgery,” and think what we will know what that means; there are many types of surgeries for the back and they differ based on where the surgery took place. We need to know if it was a hysterectomy or a gallbladder removal, not just a “surgery on your stomach.” We need to know if it was a total knee replacement or a partial knee replacement or if it was something else entirely. Each surgery has its own ways of treatment.
- Conditions: We need to know if you have any kind of chronic condition that we may or may not be able to help with. If you have a hernia, we need to know so we don’t poke it. We also need to know of conditions, whether you think it’s related to why you’re seeing us or not, because that can count for some of your symptoms. For example, if you have a bladder condition and chronic lower back pain, the two might relate. We consider fibromyalgia, MS, pregnancy, heart attacks, strokes, seizures, past serious illnesses, and many others to be conditions we should know about. If things change, we want to know, as well. If pain increases, decreases, changes, or moves, we need to know. If frequency of headaches increases or intensity increases, we need to know. Really, to be on the safe side, if you think it might be pertinent, tell us.
- Medications: Any time your medications change, we need to know. If you are on blood thinners and don’t tell us, we can easily bruise you, and we do NOT want to do that! We do not want to harm you in any way, so we need to know if a medication you’re taking changes how we might massage you. Especially with any kind of heart or circulatory system medication, we need to know. Pain killers also effect how we massage; you can’t feel as much pain on pain killers, so we can’t go as deeply as you say because you actually don’t know what we are doing.
- Seeing Any Other Health Care Practitioner: We need to know this because if you are seeing a Physical Therapist who doesn’t want you receiving massage on a certain body part, we don’t want to massage you there and mess up your care with that Physical Therapist. We also want to know if we can help expedite your goals with any of your health care practitioners, ie. work specific muscles or muscle groups to get the most out of all types of care. This includes Acupuncturists, Chiropractors, Energy Workers, Bio Feedback Practitioners, Physical Therapists, Personal Trainers, Pain Doctors, and any other qualified person who is trying to help you live the best life you can.
We aren’t trying to data farm you at all! Just like all other health care practitioners, we are bound by HIPAA, so we do not and cannot share any of your information with anyone for any reason. We don’t want to pry; we just want to help.